Life on Happiness Road

 

Is there is a magic potion or formula on Earth for happiness? Truly, every person will have their unique set of circumstances, with some common experiences, along ‘the road’ or ‘process’ for attaining and maintaining happiness. I believe true happiness, while consisting of short-term feelings of joy, is long-lasting. In fact, as promised by God to those faithful, happiness is everlasting and eternal.

Goal: State of well-being and contentment; experiencing joy; felicity, aptness; obsolete: good fortune and prosperity.[1]

smile

The perspective from a half dozen sources are incorporated into this essay.

In this day and age, too many equate success with happiness. While prosperity or notoriety may accompany being happy it no longer a prerequisite.

In my opinion, spiritual people have a huge advantage in achieving happiness. Those that believe that all good things come from God and God wants the best for us, our higher power will bless our lives as we receive God’s grace.

Research in the field of positive psychology and happiness often define a happy person as someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest, and pride, and infrequent (though not absent) negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, and anger (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005). Happiness has also been said to relate to life satisfaction, appreciation of life, moments of pleasure, but overall it has to do with the positive experience of emotions.[2]

A key to these explanations is that positive emotions do not indicate the absence of negative emotions. A “happy person” experiences the spectrum of emotions just like anybody else, but the frequency by which they experience the negative ones may differ. It could be that “happy people” don’t experience as much negative emotion because they process it differently or they may find meaning in a way others have not. In fact, using the phrase “happy person” is probably incorrect because it assumes that they are naturally happy or that positive things happen to them more often. Nobody is immune to life’s stressors, but the question is whether one sees those stressors as moments of opposition or moments of opportunity.

According to research, happiness isn’t just a state of mind. It affects your heart rate, your body chemistry, and it could contribute to substantial physical health benefits over time. British results showed that people with higher happiness ratings not only had a lower heart rate, but also had lower levels in their saliva of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, and less concentration in their blood of a plasma that’s connected to heart disease.

While some of the differences between happier individuals and their less happy counterparts were small, the researchers point out the potential impact of these seemingly minor variations over an extended period of time. “If differences of this magnitude are elicited in everyday life when people are exposed to daily hassles and challenges,” they write, “the result could be a marked difference in cardiovascular disease risk.” They also note that lower levels of cortisol are related to reduced long-term risk of abdominal obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and immune system problems.

ShadowInTheHoosierNatlForest

For years, research has shown that reducing depression, stress, anxiety, and other negative states decreases the risk of heart disease and other maladies.

This study has gone a step further by linking a positive emotional state to physical health benefits. Indeed, when the researchers measured their participants’ levels of psychological distress, they found that the physical health benefits of happiness occurred independent of whether or not participants showed any signs of depression or another negative state. This suggests that there may be a distinct biology of happiness that carries its own set of health benefits, beyond the benefits of simply not being depressed. [3]

There are some key factors to keep in mind:

A) Focus on the right things and not critically compare.

  • Each one of us has something to be joyful about, the problem that destroys the feeling of being filled with joy is comparison – when we begin to compare our lives to others and not look at what we have been currently given.
  • It is of high significance in the aspect of discovering joy that we do not look past our gifts and blessings but rather appreciate them and figure out ways on how we can multiply them.
  • Happiness-Joy starts from within, it is a decision one has to make on how they are going to perceive things in their life.

In as much as success may bring as happiness, let us not forget to smile all the way while we strive towards what we desire. Happiness can also be realized one step at a time, one decision at a time, one goal at a time.[4]

b) A ‘mental diet’ for a healthy attitude is very important in life.

The human is a fragile being led by fear, that could engulf himself. Happiness eludes him as he tends to blame other people, the environment, or even fate for this. Woe often she creates the illusion that she is completely helpless to determine her own direction of life. Happiness lies within the human being not riddled by fear, guilt, fate, and bad weather.

Only he can create it. How he succeeds will depend on his attitude and efforts to nurture it. For some individuals, the sense of happiness is brought by material things a new car, winning money, and other people, activities, health. However, only a few keep this feeling for a long time. After some time after the stimulus that caused the feeling of happiness, one wants something new. Feeling a routine, things and people get upset, need innovation. This is because people don’t appreciate what they have.[5]

c) Happiness is not merely a static psychological state.

Aristotle shares a crucial part of happiness, which is staying active. How many “happy” people do you know who sit at home all day, everyday? They might be content or “ok” temporarily, but are they truly thriving in happiness? Happiness is often found in the doing of what you’re passionate about and in building connections that are meaningful to you. Research has supported this with findings showing that strong social support is correlated with a number of positive outcomes. You might be in a rut now and you might have moments where you lose your connection to life, but you always have the opportunity to rebuild that connection.

So now it’s your turn to begin finding the happiness in you. What brings you joy? Maybe it’s a night in watching TV. Maybe it’s a night out at a new restaurant in town. Maybe it’s staying up late watching a movie with your significant other. Maybe it depends on your mood. Wherever your happiness resides, go enjoy it.[6]

d) Be realistic and manage stress.

As the founder of Daily Love, Martin Kipp has said, “I don’t expect to always be happy, I simply accept what is — And that acceptance is key. This is what self-love is all about, really, acceptance and the ability to love yourself right where you are.”

Research suggests that happiness is a combination of how satisfied you are with your life (for example, finding meaning in your work) and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis. Both of these are relatively stable — that is, our life changes, and our mood fluctuates, but our general happiness is more genetically determined than anything else. The good news is, with consistent effort, this can be offset. Think of it like you think about weight: if you eat how you want to and are as active as you want to be, your body will settle at a certain weight. But if you eat less than you’d like or exercise more, your weight will adjust accordingly. If that new diet or exercise regimen becomes part of your everyday life, then you’ll stay at this new weight. If you go back to eating and exercising the way you used to, your weight will return to where it started. So it goes, too, with happiness.

In other words, you have the ability to control how you feel—and with consistent practice, you can form life-long habits for a more satisfying and fulfilling life.[7]

e) Love is what bring happiness.  Loving others and activities.

Unfortunately, if we lack love, we are less likely to have inner happiness or less capable of bringing happiness to others.  We might live doing only what we want in order to get momentary satisfaction, not happiness.  If what we want is of selfish, greed, jealousy, hatred, favoritism, prejudice, we are likely to end up hurting others.  Because we all do it so we all suffer.  To stop suffering and have happiness, we have to forget ourselves and come to God for love.  Forgetting ourselves seem like a big loss but is truly a great gain.  Forgetting ourselves means we are not going to do what we want if it is of selfishness, greed, jealousy, hatred, favoritism, prejudice and therefore we do not hurt others.

Forgetting ourselves get rid of all the times we think of ourselves, of what we want, of how others have hurt us which take us away from reality, make our minds tired, make us suffer. Forgetting ourselves alone doesn’t bring us happiness in itself but is a necessary step.  The next step to happiness is love.  We can get love from thinking about God.  When we think about God, we know and feel love and when we ask for love, God then gives us love.  If we don’t think about God, we are not going to know or feel love.  When we forget ourselves and have love from God, it’s like we lose ourselves but gain far much better, happy selves.[8]

That is the essence to true happiness.

          Scientific American published a special issue, “The Science of Happiness.”[9] A common theme was kindness, gratitude and optimism. A happy person within a social circle quickly influences those around him or her to be happy, extending to three degrees of separation.

Our modern lives are cluttered with circumstances to be unhappy, jet we can become more resilient to stress and nourish our minds similarly as we take care of our bodies through healthy eating and exercise. Long- lasting happiness states are possible by practicing acceptance, gratitude, reexamining attitudes, feeding your sense of humor, smiling, and learning how we might better engage in activities that we love, and find positive outlets for love of our environment, interests, people and God.

——————

[1] Merriam Webster Dictionary

[2] Lyubomirsky, et.al., 2005

[3] Michelle Flythe, The Biology of Happiness, Mind & Body blog, Greater Good Berkeley.EDU

[4] Humanity Lives On; You Are Not Alone

[5] Easy Diet Blog on Word Press.Com by ILONAPULIANAUSKAITE

[6] Rubin Khoddam, PhD, Psychology Today, June 2015.

[7] Acacia Parks, Ph.D, Happify Daily.Com,

[8] TrueHappy.Net, Have Happiness?

[9] The Science of Happiness, Scientific American, October 29, 2011; https://www.scientificamerican.com/report/science-of-happiness/

Advertisements

Trump is “Gaslighting” American Voters – Can the USA Survive?!?

Recognizing 11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting [ source: Psychology Today ]

Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to gain power and maintain it… And it works too well, as President Donald J. Trump and his staff know.

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think.

Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.

In the book Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People – and Break Free, there is detail how “gaslighters” typically use the following techniques:

  1. They tell blatant lies.

You know it’s an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they’re setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you’re not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.

Newspapers have lost track of how many mistruths and outright lies the Trump Administration have spoken.

  1. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof. 

You know they said they would do something; you know you heard it. But they out and out deny it. It makes you start questioning your reality—maybe they never said that thing. And the more they do this, the more you question your reality and start accepting theirs. Blame is directed away from the gaslighter.

Nor will they take responsibility (i.e. terrorist activities motivated by the President’s angry speeches and comments to and about the press).

  1. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition. 

They know how important your kids are to you, and they know how important your identity is to you. So those may be one of the first things they attack. If you have kids, they tell you that you should not have had those children. They will tell you’d be a worthy person if only you didn’t have a long list of negative traits. They attack the foundation of your being.

  1. They wear you down over time.

This is one of the insidious things about gaslighting—it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a lie there, a snide comment every so often…and then it starts ramping up. Even the brightest, most self-aware people can be sucked into gaslighting—it is that effective. It’s the “frog in the frying pan” analogy: The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what’s happening to it.

Trump has been at it for almost two years in the presidency.

  1. Their actions do not match their words.

When dealing with a person or entity that gaslights, look at what they are doing rather than what they are saying. What they are saying means nothing; it is just talk. What they are doing is the issue.

  1. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you. 

This person or entity that is cutting you down, telling you that you don’t have value, is now praising you for something you did. This adds an additional sense of uneasiness. You think, “Well maybe they aren’t so bad.” Yes, they are. This is a calculated attempt to keep you off-kilter—and again, to question your reality. Also look at what you were praised for; it is probably something that served the gaslighter.

Republicans act like the end justifies the means (getting to the end point; namely, getting votes).

  1. They know confusion weakens people. 

Gaslighters know that people like having a sense of stability and normalcy. Their goal is to uproot this and make you constantly question everything. And humans’ natural tendency is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel more stable—and that happens to be the gaslighter.

The Republican Party is after votes.

  1. They project.

They are a drug user or a cheater, yet they are constantly accusing you of that. This is done so often that you start trying to defend yourself, and are distracted from the gaslighter’s own behavior.

Projection is a common psychological defense mechanism.

  1. They try to align people against you.

Gaslighters are masters at manipulating and finding the people they know will stand by them no matter what—and they use these people against you. They will make comments such as, “This person knows that you’re not right,” or “This person knows you’re useless too.” Keep in mind it does not mean that these people actually said these things. A gaslighter is a constant liar. When the gaslighter uses this tactic it makes you feel like you don’t know who to trust or turn to—and that leads you right back to the gaslighter. And that’s exactly what they want: Isolation gives them more control.

  1. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

This is one of the most effective tools of the gaslighter, because it’s dismissive. The gaslighter knows if they question your sanity, people will not believe you when you tell them the gaslighter is abusive or out-of-control. It’s a master technique.

  1. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

By telling you that everyone else (your family, the media) is a liar, it again makes you question your reality. You’ve never known someone with the audacity to do this, so they must be telling the truth, right? No. It’s a manipulation technique. It makes people turn to the gaslighter for the “correct” information—which isn’t correct information at all.

The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into the gaslighter’s trap.

President Trump is remarkable in his implementation of these gaslighting techniques; justifying his actions.

 

Questions and Answers signpost

copyright 2018

Max’s Scout Services & Communications of the Americas, LLC

– for musement only –

Dear Abby, What are We Going to Do with Our Roommate “S”

Dear Abby:

A few minutes ago, [11 a.m., 5-2-18] “R” returned to this property. He went out back and grabbed mop heads and BBQ equipment. He also demanded that I write him a check, this one for $50.

Another unsettling event [6:30 p.m. on April 21) happened while I was lying in bed, someone came into my room without knocking. The familiar man was followed by “M”.

‘M’ mentioned that he would be moving back here. ‘M’ did not say that he was moving in immediately.

Is this property becoming a care home, like “A” has on Evergreen?

When I moved here in November, this property was an unlicensed SLE with a resident House Manager. I can handle change but it is really hard for me now as I try to rehabilitate my health.

For the record,

  • On Monday I had an Lumbar-5 procedure on my left side.
  • Tuesday, I received a cortisone shot in my right shoulder.
  • Thursday, I received Orthovasc silicone injections into both knees.
  • Next Tuesday, I get a second opinion from a psychiatrist at Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
  • Ten days ago, I had skin cancer removed from my left cheek (face, not butt ;<) ).
  • This coming Tuesday, I will be returning from same-day surgery. PAMF is doing an endoscopy and I will need to rest for 24 hours afterwards. (oops, Dr. Scott found an ulcer in my small intestine).

A couple weeks ago you offered to move me to the rear BR that was occupied about 2 years by “R”. Almost every day, I have done something to try to clean up the room. It is entirely unfurnished, so I have looked into renting furniture from Cort and getting installation from Xfinity/ Comcast. I’d estimate that rental contracts with Cort and Xfinity would cost $230 and $160 each, respectively. Ms. A. H.” want to rent it furnished. Well, I am have accepted your kind offer.

As one with a recognized disability receiving SS income and trying to supplement my income by writing and publishing, these potential rental arrangements may or may not be viable.

In the meantime, I invited my acquaintances – Matthew and Marie – to take a look at this property. Both are able to take care of themselves, become great housemates, and work for the owner. [I wrote the above a couple hours ago. What follows below was written after 9:00 p.m.]

“S”, in my opinion, is not at all ideal for this household. Furthermore, I from weeks of experience know that he will be a terrible roommate or housemate for me.

The over-riding concern is not his lack of personal hygiene. Not the fact that he appears to be completely deaf and dumb (unable to speak). Poor Scott is ill and not able to take care of himself. In the past, “S” has made no effort to go see doctors or a dentist.

In fact, “S” had agreed with “R” to go to the dentist at UCSF and an appointment was made for February 20. “S” stayed here the entire day.

Dental health may be a minor health issue for “S”. I believe his mental and physical health is very poor. Who will be responsible?

I do not know of anyone who could tolerate “S’s” behavior.

Gross behavior, making noise, and being unwilling to communicate (in writing) or otherwise are additional issues.

Frankly speaking, “S” habitually cuts farts, making no effort to leave the room, go outside, or go sit on the toilet.

“K” said he would manage “S”. During the first 4 hours, I have not seen anything “Ka / Ke” has done to help “S”. Something as simple as using the shower or eating dinner has not been offered to “S”. Now, “K” is out-of-town for weeks, I assume.

Living around “R” was very difficult. Sure, he was a “bully” but he tried to be considerate and urge others to contribute to maintaining the house. With “S”, I have seen little effort put forth on his part to maintain the physical conditions of the house during the weeks we roomed together during January, February, and March.

Note that “S” left suddenly on his own. Packing up and leaving about 9:00 p.m. Why? I believe, to avoid communicating with others and refusing to compromise and more successfully assimilate himself into a shared living situation. I ask for your help in any way that you can. Thank you.

His judgments and behavior are troublesome for the rest of us.

Other annoying and nuisance things that occur daily is “S” walking around half-naked, not washing his hands before preparing food in the kitchen, exposing others to his dermatitis problems with his feet and hands, peeing while the bathroom door is open, slamming doors, sliding the noisy back door during sleeping/quiet hours (10 pm to 6 am), not flushing the toilet, leaving water running in the shower and bathroom sink, laughing ‘diabolically’, putting soiled dishes and silverware back into the kitchen cabinet, rambling verbally on-and-on, and doing things without asking others if it is the right time to do whatever.

Lately, I spend practically an hour a day cleaning up things “S” should be doing in the kitchen, bathroom, dining room, back of the house patio, and the front yard and patio. For instance, I have to rewash dishes, pans, and silverware that “S” uses and attempts to wash and dry. His smoking behavior is not friendly particularly for the family with children that live in 1559 Shoreview. Moore is out of town and cannot intervene. “K” is out of the country and cannot provide care for Scott’s needs.

His diet is questionable given his overweight. “S” mostly consumes white bread, American cheese sandwiches, toast with butter, and sometimes eats the meals delivered Monday through Friday from Samaritan House’s Mobil~Wheels program. A couple days ago, “S” threw five salads from Draeger’s (worth about $11 to $15 each) in the garbage, without consulting with anyone.

Last night, “S” was up during dark hours smoking in the back seating area. I awoke and found a mess of smoking materials in the front patio smoking area.

He (“S”) utters sounds [sounding like a dog, goose, or goul) while sitting by himself that are both intelligible and scare some passersby along Shoreview Avenue. His attempts to say high and be friendly are largely misunderstood and affects other residents’ interrelations with neighbors and strangers walking by.

In summary, he needs better medical care. I have lived with schizophrenics before and his overt behaviors are symptoms that his prescription medicines are NOT effective. Any future delays in seeking proper medical care only make matters worse.

“M” has been a ‘God’s send’ around here. He does not deserve to assume responsibilities for Scott’s physical, spiritual, and mental health.

As a house manager, “M” has much to be responsible for already. Is this now a ‘care home’?

pexels-photo-88808.jpeg

I hate to think that either “M” or “K” are educated, qualified, and licensed to supervise occupant’s health and personal needs.

It is not fair to them to have “S’s” issues dumped on them.

Today, I learned that a local restaurant gave “S” a job washing dishes. Yet at home he doesn’t. Such is irony. Can we discuss what needs to be purchased for our home? Not likely. But I tried on Sunday.

How can “S” keep a job, keep a place to live, and become healthy? These ought not be our responsibility nor our worries.

Sincerely,

David A. Dailey, Occupant in Room B, 1561 Shoreview, San Mateo, DADailey@gmail.com;

“Natural Shock” Performance-Presentation Outstanding in San Francisco

check out the website:
http://www.NaturalShocks.org

Review by Tony Dale.

Photograph of actress Maryssa Wanless by Tasi Alabastro.

. . . and check out the website of the playwright Lauren Gunderson, too.

Wanlass Headshot by Tasi Alabastro.JPG

 

Maryssa Wanless performed the one-woman play “Natural Shocks” on Monday night at PianoFIght in San Francisco. Produced by Utopia Theatre Project, Wanless’ performance was part of a nationwide participation of theatre activism to end gun violence. Written by Lauren Gunderson, one of today’s most prolific and successful screenwriters, “Natural Shocks” is based upon Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ and that famous question of “to be or not to be.”

 

Gunderson was so shocked by the recent outburst of gun violence at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that it brought to mind the gun violence almost 20 years ago at Columbine High in Littleton, Colorado. She dedicated “Natural Shocks” play to be used as vehicle to help put an end to gun violence. All royalties and fees have been waived so that any theatre group or community who wanted to put on the 65-minute monologue could do so for free.

 

Making this as an opportunity for Utopia Theatre Project to not only raise funds for EveryTown for Gun Safety, a non-profit working to end gun violence, but also as a way for people to discuss this pressing issue.

 

The mood on Monday night at PianoFight was intense as the audience hung on every word that Wanlass powerfully delivered. Despite the play’s serious subject matter, humor at times prevailed.

 

Since Gunderson’s release of her play, performances and staged readings of “Natural Shocks” have been performed in many places all over the nation. Gunderson’s aim was to have it performed in all 50 states.

 

Wanless is the Artistic Director of Utopia Theatre Project and she has this to say, “I believe theatre is transformative because it has transformed me and the people I work with on a daily basis. Theatre asks its audiences and participants to extend their thinking beyond themselves and step into the experience of another person.”

 

After Wanlass was finished her thought-provoking performance there was a “Q & A” with the audience in which also included Director, Laura Jane Bailey.

 

While the venue at PianoFight only holds 50 people, the ability for important subjects and issues to be presented in an intimate theatrical space makes an impact. Utopia Theatre Project was founded in 2014 by emerging Japanese-American playwright, Anne Yumi Kobori because she believes in artist-produced live theatre as a unique and powerful form of human connection using the theatrical art form to invoke social change through the telling of non-traditional stories.

 

“Natural Shocks” is the fourth production in Utopia’s inaugural season and is certainly a unique theatrical experience. Yet, even more so is the fact that this was history in the making using theater as a form of social activism.

 

For more information about “Natural Shocks” at Utopia Theatre Project visit: UtopiaTheatreProject.com and for more about the project, “Natural Shocks” visit: https://www.naturalshocks.org

 

 

Max's Scout Services & Communications of the Americas WebBlog

Maryssa Wanless performed the one-woman play “Natural Shocks” on Monday night at PianoFIght in San Francisco. Produced by Utopia Theatre Project, Wanless’ performance was part of a nationwide participation of theatre activism to end gun violence. Written by Lauren Gunderson, one of today’s most prolific and successful screenwriters, “Natural Shocks” is based upon Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ and that famous question of “to be or not to be.”

Wanlass Headshot by Tasi Alabastro.JPG

Gunderson was so shocked by the recent outburst of gun violence at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that it brought to mind the gun violence almost 20 years ago at Columbine High in Littleton, Colorado. She dedicated “Natural Shocks” play to be used as vehicle to help put an end to gun violence. All royalties and fees have been waived so that any theatre group or community who wanted to put on the 65-minute monologue could do so for free.

Making this as an opportunity…

View original post 335 more words

Prayer is Special During Advent

St. Dominic, about 800 years ago, preached about nine great ways to take our prayers to God.

  1. Humility (reference 2 Chronicles 7:14)
  2. Worship (ref: Psalm 29:2)
  3. Penance (ref: Acts 2:38)
  4. Contemplate the love of God through the cross (ref: Phillipians 2:10)
  5. Be still and listen to God (ref: 1 Chronicles 16:8)
  6. Intercession (ref: John 14:13-14) Jesus Christ stated, “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
  7. Supplication for wisdom, transfixed (ref: Psalm 103:1) and
  8. Study the Word of God (ref: Acts 3:16)

img_20161019_092519

Statue of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception at St. Raymond’s in Menlo Park, Calif. [St. Raymond was a Dominican Priest that lived to be 100 years-old]